Now that summer is upon us, it’s probably time to get that boat out of storage and take it out on the water. If you’re going to be trailering or towing a boat for the first time – or even just if you want some refreshers before you hit the road – be sure to follow these tips so that you get your boat and, more importantly, yourself to the water safely!
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Weights & Capacities
First and foremost, you want to make sure that your vehicle can handle the trailer and boat that you have. Check your vehicle’s towing capacity, make sure your trailer hitch is capable of handling all of the weight of your boat and trailer, tally up the gross vehicle weight, payload and tongue weight of the trailer don’t exceed the vehicle’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, then make sure your tongue weight is appropriate as well to avoid any trailer sway.
Now it’s important to make sure your load is packed properly. Be sure to evenly distribute anything inside your boat between the left and right sides, and properly secure everything so that it doesn’t shift in transit.
Now that your trailer is all set, it’s important to give your vehicle a once over. First, check the tires – this should be done for the trailer as well – to make sure that they’re properly inflated. Make sure all of your lights work, making sure to double check that the vehicle is speaking to the trailer and that its brake and turn signal indicators all work as well. Then adjust your mirrors to accommodate for the extra trailer attached to your back. You want to make sure that your side mirrors clearly show the end of your trailer so that you don’t miss anything.
Now that everything is ready, just make sure to drive smart and safely. Stay within safe speeds, remembering that it’s going to take you longer to come to a stop, so you shouldn’t follow as close as you normally do, and you should begin braking early. If you stop for gas or any other reason, just give your vehicle and trailer a once over to make sure everything is good.
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Now you’re all set to hit the water. Enjoy your summer in the sun!